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Judge Not Lest Ye May Be Judged By Sunday's Buyrate

Tha O Show would like to welcome Stevie J of Angry Marks to our writing staff. The following is his first post that can also be found at the Angry Marks website along with many other articles and podcasts. Enjoy!

Has WWE forgotten how to promote their own product and build up to a big PPV buyrate? Then again have wrestling promoters forgotten how in general?

On the heels of one of their most successful pay-per-view events (Lockdown) in over a year, TNA built up such a miserable event last Sunday (Sacrifice) that even their own fans tuned out and skipped it.

WWE did a monster buyrate (one million +) for WrestleMania XXIV but then half-assed their way into Backlash and nearly fell off a cliff for Judgment Day. In this editorial, we'll take a look at what's going wrong and what could have been done differently before this Sunday's PPV.

Now to be perfectly honest about this situation, I can be excited about this Sunday's Judgment Day PPV even if no other wrestling fan in the entire world gave two shits and one motherfuck about anything on the card from top to bottom. Why? *OMAHA, NEBRASKA BABY!* I don't know if people in cities like Houston, Los Angeles and New York can fully appreciate what it's like to have a pay-per-view come to Omaha.

Sure we get "Raw" live at the Qwest Center now and then, the occasional "SmackDown!" taping here or in Lincoln, and TNA has even come out here for a house show. For some reason though when it comes to picking a venue for a PPV, Omaha is last on their list for consideration. How long has it been since WWE came here for a PPV? Not since In Your House 7 on April 28, 1996. Some places get a PPV every 12-15 months but this city has been waiting for a WWE PPV to take place here *FOR OVER TEN YEARS*.

That's a long fucking time to build up some anticipation. I don't want to get off on too much of a tangent but it's a little bit absurd given the fact Omaha is a traditional wrestling town - after all both Ted DiBiase and Sting were born here, and major events in wrestling historyhappened here.

I don't want to boast too much, but we've even got a local indie scene with guys good enough to be doing regional tours and working matches with ROH stars. To put it bluntly, Omaha loves wrestling, and you can tell every time "Raw" is live from the Qwest. It's not a coincidence that WWE always seems to stop here in the month before WrestleMania - they're guaranteed a loud and hot crowd who will go nuts for everything all night long. Even if you had the shittiest build to a PPV in history you could hardly get a bad show in front of an Omaha crowd.

To me it almost seems like WWE is trying to prove that theory true by intentionally tanking the build for this show. Lately it seems like the three biggest wrestling promotions in this country (WWE, TNA and ROH) have all forgotten what it means to use your product to promote a PPV and increase your buyrate. Getting into the small errors ROH has made and *MUCH LARGER ONES* TNA has made would make for an editorial too long for the time I have right now, but WWE certainly seems to be out to prove they can fuck it up as much as anybody else.

They've really got nothing to worry about in this town since we're starving for pyro, ballyhoo and hoopla on a Sunday night so the Qwest will be packed, but some of the fencesitters around the country may be wondering what their incentive is to shell out $45 on PPV, especially at a time where with rising gas prices you might need that much money just to fill up your tank. Take the John Cena vs. JBL match for example.

On paper this one could have been mad hot, given the tall Texan plays the unlikeable bully as well as anyone in wrestling history (probably because he is one in real life). Cena gets the added advantage of working in front of a hot crowd that will be largely in his corner - you get Cena haters everywhere these days, but not as many in Omaha as other cities. The problem is that in the month since Backlash, Cena has barely been seen on WWE programming.

With this Monday's "Raw", they could have gone home strong for Sunday with the feud, but instead had Cena fight Randy Orton in the main event. It was the classic TNA clusterfuck of "let's promote two feuds at the same time" as GM William Regal had the referee replaced by JBL, and then sent Triple H out to make the save when Cena got doubleteamed so that he and Orton could get in a brawl. As Bryan Alvarez would say, *NO BUYS!*

As if that weren't a bad enough way to set up two matches for Sunday night, WWE killed the stip of Triple H vs. Randy Orton in a steel cage by having the cage lower down on Hunter and Orton while they were brawling. In theory this could have worked had Orton left the champion laying (preferably bloody) inside that cage, giving you a preview of the peril Triple H might be in come Sunday night at the PPV.

That's one of the reasons people buy pay-per-view to see this "fake wrestling shit" -you give them reasons to get emotionally invested by putting their hero in jeapordy, and right now for better or worse Triple H is the hero of the people. Instead of Triple H being left beaten and battered on Monday night though, the exact *OPPOSITE* happened - Hunter kicked Orton's ass and sent him packing.

Way to build up a strong challenger there WWE. I don't know if that's bad writing by the creative team or the overgrown ego of Paul Michael Levesque kicking in where he has to always look dominant at all times (even over tag teams which are in no way a threat to him - another rant for another day) but as a build for Sunday it sucks rotten eggs either way.

The rest of this card seems equally quagmired in stupidity. Who builds up a rematch between a champion and a challenger by stripping the champion of the title? Believe it or not that's not TNA, that's WWE, because that's exactly what they did to Undertaker going into this Sunday's match with Edge. What about Hardcore Holly (who is ridiculously popular in Omaha for no good reason) and Cody Rhodes defending their tag titles against the charismatic heel team of Carlito & Santino? *NOPE*. That match isn't even on the card. Instead the thrown together ECW tag team of CM Punk & Kane will be challenging the "SmackDown!" tag champions Morrison & The Miz.

Let's not even get into what an *EPIC FAIL* the build-up to Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho has been, which is an utter shame given that is the match that is liable to steal the show on Sunday night.

Even if you're not going to be at the Qwest Center or order the PPV live, you may still want to go see Judgment Day at a bar (I recommend DJ's Dugout here in Omaha but the Hooters in your area will probably have it) or rent the DVD when it comes out just for that one. Jericho and HBK are two of the best workers of our era and they won't fail to deliver a great edge of your seat match when pitted against each other inside the squared circle.

Judgment Day 2008, I judge ye a success in spite of yourself. Off the goodwill of fans who enjoyed both WrestleMania XXIV and Backlash, you'll probably get a decent buyrate for this one despite one of the worst builds to an event in a long time. Off the goodwill of the loyal wrestling fans of Omaha you'll get a hot crowd that sounds great all night long for almost the entire card, despite the fact you've done such a poor job of building up interest in the matches on "Raw", ECW and "SmackDown!".

Off sheer momentum alone WWE will succeed far more than TNA could ever hope to, because even when they're wrong they're still right because they're the single largest pro wrestling (though they prefer the pretentious term "sports entertainment") company in the world today.

So you'll see me at ringside on Sunday night, drinking beer, making fun of Bradshaw and having a grand old time with my wife Lady J at my side, but I do judge WWE generally incompetent as a whole at promoting this show and feel they could have easily gotten a buyrate 10-20% better than whatever they'll do Sunday had they written better TV and made more exciting feuds for this show.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for an AngryMarks Podcast coming soon where Big D and I will be joined by Dan-e-o!

1 comments: on "Judge Not Lest Ye May Be Judged By Sunday's Buyrate"

Dante Ross said...

Hey, Sting aint from Nebraska. he from Venice Beach. Right? The problem with all of the PPV's lately, and this has been a problem for a while, is oversaturation. Even if you just ordered from one company thats hundreds of bucks. Screw that. I got the internet. I'll just read the results.

Its been a while since I felt compelled to order a PPV. Most of it is because I can find the results right after a match. The other reason is, why pay for something that wont matter in weeks? Take HBK as an example. This big buildup involving The Shaminal. One match and thats it. Now HBK has moved on to a feud with no story besides the fact he's a liar. Not really worth almost 50 bucks. Or I could see HHH/Orton Part 113.

Its hard to promote something that isnt worth promoting. Everything that happens wont mean shit in two weeks. Then we can get ready for HHH/Orton Part 114 (not counting the matches between PPV's).